« Back to Glossary Index
Visit Us
Follow Me

Kanban is a method for managing work processes and tasks, initially formulated in Japan as part of the Toyota Production System for managing and improving work across human systems. The system’s objective is to manage and visualize work, optimize flow, and continuously improve workflow. It aims to balance the amount of work in progress with the team’s capacity, leading to improved efficiency, productivity, and team collaboration.

Core Concepts

  1. Visualization: Kanban promotes the visualization of your work. Work items are represented visually on a kanban board, allowing team members to see the state of every piece of work at any time.
  2. Limit Work-in-Progress (WIP): By limiting how much unfinished work is in progress, you can reduce the time it takes an item to travel through the kanban system. It can also help identify problems in the workflow that are causing work to pile up.
  3. Flow Management: Kanban allows for the management of work as it moves through defined states, from definition to completion.
  4. Explicit Process Policies: Kanban requires that team members understand and follow the rules about how work flows through the system. This promotes consistency and allows for better predictability and quality of output.
  5. Feedback Loops: Regular meetings, such as stand-ups or retrospectives, are critical for reviewing progress, discussing problems, and agreeing on improvements.
  6. Continuous Improvement: The aim of kanban is to continuously improve the flow of work through the system, reducing the time it takes for work to be completed.

Kanban Board

A Kanban board is a physical or digital project management tool designed to visualize work, limit work-in-progress, and maximize efficiency (or flow). A basic Kanban board consists of three columns: “To Do”, “In Progress”, and “Done”. However, depending on a team’s needs, the board can be expanded with additional columns to better reflect the workflow.

Usage and Impact

Kanban is widely used in various industries, such as manufacturing, software development, IT operations, and services. Its principles have been incorporated into agile methodologies and frameworks, such as Scrum, making it an integral part of modern project management practices.

In conclusion, Kanban’s visual nature allows for better communication and coordination among team members, resulting in improved productivity, efficiency, and quality. By continuously improving processes, teams using Kanban can deliver more value to their customers.

You may also like...